Kyoto Sanga can trace its history back to the university club team of Kyoto Teacher's University. In this guise, Kyoto participated in a number of national (Emperor's Cup) tournaments in the 1950s and 1960s. However, it only abandoned its university ties in 1993, restructuring as a professional team with the aim of joining the J.League. It took the name "Kyoto Purple Sanga", and won promotion to the J.League two years later, in 1995. The word "Sanga" is a sanskrit term meaning "group" or "club", whereas the imperial colour "Purple" was included to reflect Kyoto's status as Japan's ancient imperial capital. Although the team retains the purple color scheme, the "Purple" was officially dropped in 2007 in the interest of simplicity. The official name now is simply "Kyoto Sanga FC".
The mascot is a mythical bird often associated with emperors in ancient China and Japan, known as "the immortal (or "undying") bird". In English this is usually translated as a Phoenix, though the bird from Greek Mythology differs in some aspects from this one. The mascot's name -- Pursa -- hearkens back to the time when Kyoto retained the "purple" in its name. Pursa's partner -- Kotono-chan -- has even less connection to the team name.